Eileen Bennin exemplifies the values Glenkirk embraces and has inspired people inside and outside our organization to make a difference in the lives of the developmentally disabled. Bennin addresses real needs and concerns by bringing awareness to every person she meets with an energetic compassion that is contagious.
Bennin founded Glenkirk's Annual Benefit Brunch in 1997 to help raise needed money for services and programs specifically impacting the developmentally disabled. The first year Bennin was the sole committee, raising $25,000. In 2006 the brunch had grown into a $175,000 sold-out event. Bennin created a strong foundation by engaging the efforts of four co-chairs and 18 committee members. They worked to produce nine successful Benefit Brunch events, raising $667,000. Bennin encourages volunteers to generously give of their time, solicit donations and familiarize people with Glenkirk. Using press releases, partner advertising and this year's awareness bracelets, she has raised the profile of her event.
Since 1997, Bennin and her volunteers reached out to family, friends and businesses. Resources have been leveraged and attendance has grown each year. An astonishing amount of volunteer hours have been contributed to make the Glenkirk Benefit Brunch an ever-increasing success. Its estimated that more than 50,000 volunteer hours of phone calls, e-mails, solicitations and meeting attendance, have been contributed in the effort of this successful annual event.
The results of Bennin's vision for the Brunch are evidenced by the growing numbers of participants, donations, and partnerships developed along with the smiles on the faces and in the hearts of the attendees. The immediate impact for Glenkirk has been in both financial and human capital.
Funding has been used to support Glenkirk's Next Generation Services. Career makers provides job seeking skills and training in preparation for community-based employment. Foundations for Neighborhood Living provides apartment living with intermittent support. Full Life and College for Living offers classes geared to continuing education and life-enhancing activities, such as wellness, citizenship, creative arts and entrepreneurship.
Each year Bennin makes it her personal challenge to exceed last years goal by brining more people and companies into the event. She has never failed and makes things happen with a sense of determination and savvy. Challenge is a word that runs away when Bennin is involved.
While Bennin is the mother of two sons with developmental disabilities, she is a tireless supporter of all her children in the Glenkirk family. When it comes to the developmentally disabled, Bennin doesn't know the meaning of the word 'no'.